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The Thing That Makes You Exceptional: Lorraine Hansberry in the Village

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Lorraine Hansberry lived at 337 Bleecker Street. Her birthday is May 19.

A Raisin in the Sun was the first play written by an African American woman to be produced on Broadway. Here are some quotes:

A Raisin in the Sun (1959)

I look at you and I see the final triumph of stupidity in the world!

Beneatha to Walter, Act III

There is always something left to love. And if you ain't learned that, you ain't learned nothing. Have you cried for that boy today? I don't mean for yourself and for the family 'cause we lost the money. I mean for him; what he's been through and what it done to him. Child, when do you think is the time to love somebody the most; when they done good and made things easy for everybody? Well then, you ain't through learning — because that ain't the time at all. It's when he's at his lowest and can't believe in hisself 'cause the world done whipped him so. When you starts measuring somebody, measure him right child, measure him right. Make sure you done taken into account what hills and valleys he come through before he got to wherever he is.

Mama, Act III

Eventually it comes to you: the thing that makes you exceptional, if you are at all, is inevitably that which must also make you lonely.

To Be Young, Gifted and Black: Lorraine Hansberry in Her Own Words (1969)

 

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"A Raisin in the Sun."

It is very sad to realize that Lorraine Hansberry died of cancer at an early age. Her genius in writing was her perception of human nature. "A Raisin in the Sun," explored the trauma of an African American family that moved into a neighborhood where there were bigots. The atmosphere of animosity impacted their lives in a very negative way, causing them to wonder whether or not they should move somewhere else. I recall the Grandmother as being a very strong, sensible and moral person, one who ruled the family with staunch authority. Beneatha to Walter: "Child when do you think it is time to love somebody the most; when they done good and made things easy for everybody? Well, then you ain't through learning - because that ain't the time at all. It's when he's at his lowest and can't believe in hisself 'cause the world done whipped him so. When you starts measuring someone, measure him right. Make sure you done taken into account what hills and valleys he come through before he got to wherever he is." Her writing was very profound. Ms. Hansberry had great wisdom to share with the world.

archival materials

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